How to Make a Corset Mock up?

Mock ups are essential tools for achieving a well-fitting garment without endangering the finished garment. This tutorial is design to help you make a quick and cheap but effective boned corset mock up.

It covers the creation of the most basic corset mock up that uses locally available supplies, such as tarp and heavy-duty zip ties. Budget friendly supplies allow for the creation of the mock up before ordering any specialized corset making supplies.

That said, it is possible to upgrade the basic corset mock up with higher quality materials such as coutil, steel boning, busk and reusable lacing strips for an even better fitting experience.
For more info, check out Corset Parts 101.

Basic corset mock up front made out of cotton tarp and industrial zip ties

Figure 1 : Basic mock up front
(Using FREE pattern LOLITA)

Basic corset mock up is constructed as a single layer corset with seam allowances on OUTSIDE. Most boning is on middle of pattern pieces. (Fig. 1 & 2)

Method combines ease of seam line alteration and proper vertical tension to fabric, preventing it from bunching up, around the waist line.

Apply patterns adjustments BEFORE making a boned mock up to maximize the usefulness of the mock up!

For larger sizes, feel free to add more boning (to the mock up and finished corset) for a better fit.

Basic corset mock up back made out of cotton tarp and industrial zip ties

Figure 2 : Basic mock up back

Basic tools

  • Sewing machine (+ zipper foot)
  • Sewing Thread
  • Iron (steam is always welcomed)
  • Pen (Fig. 3)
  • Ruler
  • Fabric scissors or Rotary cutter
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric clips or pins
  • Hole punch for fabric
Tools needed for making a basic corset mock up like ruler, pins, rotary cutter, chalk, pliers

Figure 3 : Basic corset mock up tools

Minimum materials needed

(Larger the size, more of the material is needed)

  • Cotton Tarp, Ticking or Upholstery Canvas
    0.5 to 1.5 m or 0.6 to 2 yd (Fig. 4)
  • 2 cm wide Cotton Twill Tape (waist tape)
    10 cm or 4“ longer than the waist line measurement
  • 5cm wide Cotton Twill Tape (boning channels)
    3.8 to 7.4 m or 4.2 to 8.2 yd
  • 1 cm wide Heavy-duty zip ties (budget boning)
    12 to 24 pieces (Fig. 5)
  • Ribbon/Cord (back lacing)
    8 to 12 m or 9 to 13 yd
Closeup of cotton tarp fabric for making basic corset mock up

Figure 4 : Cotton tarp fabric

Heavy duty zip ties to be used as simple corset mock up boning

Figure 5 : Zip ties

MAKING THE MOCK UP

To make the mock up you will need to cut all the pattern pieces twice.
Once as they are & once flipped/mirrored.
Double up Back Center pattern piece.

  1. Start by ironing Cotton Tarp to remove any wrinkles and folds.
  2. Lay paper corset pattern pieces on to fabric.
    Take care to match fabric grain line to pattern grain line.
  3. Mark pattern piece seam lines on to fabric with a pen.
    Be precise!
  4. Transfer pattern details on to fabric.
    Pattern number and side, circumference lines, boning channel position, notches…
  1. Add 1 cm or 1/2“ wide seam allowances all around.
    Seam allowances can be wider if you wish.
  2. Repeat the same process for all pattern pieces.
    Try your best to minimize scrap fabric.
  3. Cut everything out.
  4. Baste waist line marking on ALL pattern pieces. (Fig. 6)
    Machine stitch with 3.5 mm or 7 stitches per inch length right on the marked line.

 

Basting waistline on all corset pieces

Figure 6 : Basting waist line

  1. Iron 1.5cm wide Cotton Twill Tape to remove wrinkles.
    Give it a very good stretch.
  2. Use a piece of tarp scrap to sew test boning channels using ironed Twill Tape.
    Make sure zip ties/boning fit the channel snugly.
  3. Sew ironed Twill Tape on pattern pieces to create boning channels. (Fig. 7)
    Use marked bone channel positions as your guide.
  4. Divide fabric pieces in two piles.
    One for left side, one for right side.
Sewing tape on to create boning channels

Figure 7 : Boning on middle of pattern piece

  1. Pair up pattern pieces that are to be sewn together. (Fig. 8)
    Pattern piece 1 is to be sewn to pattern piece 2. Pattern piece 3 is sewn to 4 & so on.
  2. Pin or clip pairs together starting from the waist line notches. (Fig. 9)
    Work your way up and down, making sure edges and notches match.
  3. Sew pattern pairs together. (Fig. 10)
    Use 1.5 mm or 16 stitch/inch stitch length & sew slightly inside marked seam line.
  4. Repeat the pair up process until ALL corset pattern pieces are sewn together.
    Including Front Center pieces!
Pairing and matching corset mock up pattern pieces

Figure 8 : Pairing up pattern pieces & matching notches

Mock up pattern pieces held together with sewing clips

Figure 9 : Pair of pattern pieces held together by clips

Basic corset mock up pattern pieces sewn together

Figure 10 : Pair of pattern pieces sewn together

  1. Sew Twill Tape over Front Center seam to create boning channels. (Fig. 11)
    If corset size allows it, sew an extra boning channel on each side of it.
  2. Iron 2 cm wide Cotton Twill Tape to remove wrinkles.
    As usual, give it a good stretch.
  3. Pin waist tape on the inside of the corset, between seam lines.
    Use basted waist line as a guide by placing the edge of tape right on the waist line. 
  1. Sew waist tape on to corset right on the seam line. (Fig. 12)
    Simple backstitch nested between open seams allowances will do just fine.
  2. Fold Back Center panels on the seam line to close the back.
  3. Iron the Back Center edge neatly.
    Fold and iron waist tape over it!
  4. Top-stitch 1.5 mm or 1/16“ from Back Center edge.
  5. Sew a parallel stitch line to top-stitch line to make a boning channel. (Fig. 13)
    Make sure it’s wide enough for the bone to fit snugly.
Adding more boning channels to corset mock up center front

Figure 11 : Additional boning channels over Front Center

Waist tape sewn on basic corset mock up

Figure 12 : Waist tape sewn on mock up

Boning channel sewn on corset mock up center back

Figure 13 : Boning channel sewn on Back Center

  1. Cut off top and bottom edge seam allowances. (Fig. 14)
  2. Close ALL boning channels on the top of the corset.
    Sew them shut with a line of stitching 7 to 10mm or 1/4“ to 3/8“ from the edge.
  3. Take your 1cm wide Heavy-duty zip ties.
  4. Cut off ALL the locking mechanisms.
Boning channel closed by dense line of stitching

Figure 14 : Line of stitching that closes top of boning channel

  1. File zip tie corners smooth using a nail file/sanding block. (Fig. 15)
    Gently shape the edges until it’s smooth to touch.
  2. Insert a zip tie/bone into the bone channel.
    Smooth side first!
  3. Push the bone all the way in, to the closing stitch line.
  4. Mark bottom edge of the corset on the bone.
  5. Remove the marked bone around 1/3 of its length from the channel.
    Be careful not to remove the marked bottom edge line!
Shaping plastic zip ties for corset boning

Figure 15 : Cut & shaped edges of zip tie boning

  1. Measure 1 to 1.5 cm or 3/8“ to 1/2“ from the marked line. (Fig. 16)
  2. Mark the new line on the bone.
  3. Cut the bone on that freshly marked line.
  4. File zip tie corners so they are smooth to touch.
  5. Push the bone back into the channel.
    Make sure it is pushed all the way to the stitch line that closes the channel.
Measuring bones to proper size

Figure 16 : Measuring & marking bones shorter

  1. Repeat the process until ALL boning channels have bones in them!
  2. Close ALL boning channels with line of stitching on bottom. (Fig. 17)
    Use a zipper foot to safely get very close to edge of bones.
  3. Draw a line 5mm or 1/4“ from the Back Center boning channel.
    This line will be the center point for back lacing hole positions.
  4. Measure 1 cm or 3/8“ from the waist line UP & mark the spot. (Fig. 18)
Closing boning channel with another line of stitching

Figure 17 : Closing bottom of ALL boning channels

Marking hole positions for basic corset mock up back lacing

Figure 18 : Marking back lacing hole positions from waistline

  1. From this point, measure and mark a point every 2 cm, all the way to the TOP edge.
  2. With one side done, measure 1 cm from the waist line DOWN and mark the spot.
  3. Measure & mark every 2 cm, until BOTTOM edge is reached.
  4. Repeat the same process on the other side of the corset mock up.
  5. Use marked points as guides to punch holes, following tool instructions. (Fig. 19)
    If you have fray check at hand, use it.
Making back lacing holes for basic corset mock up

Figure 19 : Back lacing holes marked & cut

  1. Finish edges of chosen back laces by melting, sewing or tipping them.
  2. Lace the basic corset mock up using the reverse bunny ear method. (Fig. 20)
  3. Loosen back lace completely BEFORE attempting to pull mock up over your head.
    Getting stuck is anything but fun…

 

Basic boned mock up is finished & ready for fitting!

Laced mock up using reverse bunny ears method

Figure 20 : Basic corset mock up finished!